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The People of the State of Illinois v. Tina S. Tilley

September 29, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
TINA S. TILLEY,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Livingston County No. 09CF40 Honorable Robert M. Travers, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cook

JUSTICE COOK delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Turner and Steigmann concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 In November 2009, following a bench trial, the trial court found defendant, Tina Tilley, guilty of participation in methamphetamine manufacturing, and in December 2009, the court sentenced defendant to 12 years' imprisonment. Defendant appeals, arguing the State failed to prove she participated in manufacturing between 100 and 400 grams of "a substance containing methamphetamine." 720 ILCS 646/15(a)(1) (West 2008). The State maintains it proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the substance weighed more than 100 grams. We agree with the State and affirm.

¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 3 In February 2009, officers from the Livingston County Proactive Unit and the Illinois State Police Methamphetamine Response Team (Meth Response Team) conducted a search of a residence in Pontiac, Illinois, belonging to defendant and her husband, Jimmy Tilley, after obtaining Jimmy's consent. In the course of the search, officers discovered the remnants of a meth lab in defendant and Jimmy's bedroom. Numerous items associated with the manufacture and use of methamphetamine were discovered in the bedroom. A large trash bag contained, among other things, a smaller gift bag containing a chunky powder that field tested positive for methamphetamine. The powder weighed 391.1 grams. A sample was retained for later testing. A laboratory report indicated the sample weighed 25.3 grams and tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine. Officers seized and later destroyed the various hazardous materials used in or produced by the manufacture of methamphetamine, including the powder not preserved for testing.

¶ 4 Jimmy waived his Miranda rights (see Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966)) and gave an interview at the residence. Jimmy stated he learned how to manufacture methamphetamine from his brother and sister, Patrick and Shelly Tilley, in 2008. He described the process by which he manufactured methamphetamine and reported he had produced methamphetamine approximately 10 times at several locations, including his home. He later drafted and signed a handwritten statement regarding his activities during the day preceding the search. He reported he had "cooked" 3 boxes of pseudoephedrine pills and produced approximately 1 1/2 grams of methamphetamine.

¶ 5 Defendant was arrested and taken to the Livingston County jail, where she waived her Miranda rights, gave an interview, and drafted and signed a handwritten statement. In her interview, defendant stated she had been purchasing pseudoephedrine pills for several months for Jimmy to use in his manufacture of methamphetamine.

¶ 6 On February 9, 2009, the State charged defendant with unlawful participation in methamphetamine manufacturing (see 720 ILCS 646/15(a)(1) (West 2008) (defining the offense)), alleging she knowingly participated in the manufacture of between 100 and 400 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine (see 720 ILCS 646/15(a)(2)(C) (West 2008) (prescribing penalties for participating in the manufacture of that amount of such a substance)).

¶ 7 On August 12 and November 10, 2009, defendant and Jimmy were tried jointly in a bench trial. Special agent Courtney Mauser of the Meth Response Team testified at length about the powder he observed in the gift bag. Initially, Mauser described it as "a white and black chunky substance that field tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine." He testified he took what he considered a "characteristic sample" to use in testing. He agreed with the State's characterization of the powder as "some sort of a white, powdery substance." Mauser clarified the powder was produced in the course of the methamphetamine-manufacturing process. He agreed with the State's characterization of what he observed in the gift bag as "kind of a pile of substance." On cross-examination, he agreed with Jimmy's counsel's characterization of the powder as "a white, chunky substance with black chunks." On cross-examination by defendant's attorney, Mauser testified, "[W]hat was found was not finished product; it was a substance containing methamphetamine, which is all of the chemicals mixed together." He stated the powder he found could be reused to produce more methamphetamine. On redirect, he agreed with the State's characterization of the powder as "a white substance" with "some black in it" and reiterated that the powder was not methamphetamine in its finished state.

¶ 8 In November 2009, the trial court found defendant guilty of participation in methamphetamine manufacturing and found the mass of the substance containing methamphetamine produced with defendant's participation was between 100 and 400 grams. In December 2009, the court denied defendant's motion for a new trial and sentenced her to 12 years' imprisonment. In February 2010, the court denied defendant's motion for reconsideration of sentence.

¶ 9 This appeal followed.

¶ 10 II. ANALYSIS

ΒΆ 11 On appeal, defendant argues the State failed to prove the mass of the substance containing methamphetamine beyond a reasonable doubt. Specifically, she maintains the State was required to test each allegedly distinct substance (i.e., the "white, chunky" powder and the "black chunks") for the presence of methamphetamine and weigh the substances separately. We agree with the State that it proved ...


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